Melissa Beatriz Skolnick is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia storyteller, who believes in the power of cultural organizing. Since 2010, she has been working with nonprofits and arts organizations throughout Philadelphia, while using a range of tools for community building and storytelling. Drawing on experiences from her own immigrant family, she advocates for social justice and human rights across communities.
After attaining her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, she worked as a grant writer at Esperanza. Since then, she has served as a consultant with a range of organizations, including Scribe Video Center, Media Mobilizing Project, GSE Films, and Penn School of Social Policy & Practice. As a cultural organizer, she has supported an array of independent artists through fundraising and multimedia efforts. She has also co-taught several classes focused on using film and journalism for social change, and is currently the Director of the CAMRA Film Fellows Program at Penn.
As an artist, Melissa partners with arts and educational organizations to advocate for equality. One of her short films, The Engine of My Life/El Motor De Mi Vida, was produced with Media Mobilizing Project and focuses on immigrant rights. An earlier project, No Color Without Contrast, highlights the Youth Artist Program at Taller Puertorriqueño. Her multimedia projects have screened at local film festivals, conferences, and community centers, in order to spark dialogue and action across communities. Much of her independent work focuses on collaborating with the Latinx community, both by using film as a tool for organizing and by documenting multifaceted stories of arts and culture.
Melissa B. Skolnick, Joanna Siegel, and Kate Zambon were awarded an Art and Change Grant in 2012. Learn more about that project here.